This Strawberry Sheet Cake recipe is a sweet and fruity treat bursting with juicy fresh strawberries. The strawberry cream cheese frosting takes it over the top. An easy homemade cake recipe anyone can make!
This post is sponsored by California Giant Berry Farms. I am thrilled to be working with California Giant on more recipes this year. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Fit Mitten Kitchen and the brands that help me bring you new recipes!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Strawberries in two forms intensifies that strawberry flavor.
- A real deal, moist cake that is 10x better than a box of cake mix.
- Serves a crowd and the whole family will love it!
- The perfect cake for Mother’s Day, MDW and more!
Looking for more strawberry desserts? Be sure to check out Strawberry Bundt Cake, Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes, Healthy Strawberry Shortcake or Gluten Free Strawberry Crisp.
Ingredients You Will Need
The ingredients for this fresh strawberry sheet cake are broken down in three parts – dry ingredients, wet ingredients and frosting. Here’s a look at what we need:
- whole wheat pastry flour – whole wheat pastry flour ensures a tender crumb. If you don’t have any on hand, use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour to achieve a similar texture.
- baking powder + baking soda – for lift and to ensure a beautiful golden brown color.
- sea salt – to enhance all those fresh strawberry flavors!
- avocado oil – to add moisture and richness.
- applesauce – unsweetened applesauce adds another layer of moisture while lightening up the cake a bit.
- granulated sugar – it is cake, after all! Regular granulated sugar sweetens this pink cake perfectly.
- whole eggs + egg whites – whole large eggs add richness, whereas egg whites keep it light and fluffy.
- strawberry puree – you will need about 1 pint fresh strawberries to get 1 1/4 cups strawberry puree. Simply stem, hull and slice the strawberries in half, then give them a quick whiz in a blender or food processor.
- vanilla extract – for floral sweetness you just can’t get from sugar.
- freeze dried strawberries – I used freeze dried strawberries in both the cake and the frosting, but using them in the cake is totally optional.
- unsalted butter – use room temperature butter to keep the frosting light and smooth.
- cream cheese – adds tang and a creamy sweetness. Full fat and reduced fat can both be used.
- confectioner’s sugar – powdered sugar blends so well in homemade frostings and it’s the key ingredient to keep it light and airy.
- vanilla coffee creamer / milk – to balance the consistency in the frosting. Use more or less depending on how thick you would like the frosting.
DAIRY FREE: If you want to make this dairy free, use plant based butter, cream cheese and milk for the frosting. Or, serve it strawberry shortcake style with a generous dollop of whipped coconut cream and fresh strawberries.
Find the full recipe with measurements in the recipe card below, at the end of this post.
Tips for Selecting Strawberries
Spring is the best time of year for strawberries as they are in peak season from May – June, depending on where you live. When you purchase them from the grocery store, here are my best tips for selecting the freshest and fruitiest strawberries:
- Appearance is plump and vibrant
- Skin is smooth and glossy
- Color is deep red, with a bright green calyx
- No signs of mold, fuzz, bruising or mushy berries
How to Make
Homemade strawberry cake mix comes together in a matter of minutes. When it comes to completing your masterpiece, the key is to allow the cake to cool completely before frosting. Here’s how to do it:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (metal baking pan preferred) with butter or cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
Mix Dry Ingredients
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Set this aside while you start the wet ingredients.
Mix Wet Ingredients
In a large bowl whisk together oil, applesauce and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and egg whites and mix until fully combined and emulsified.
Make Cake Batter
Gradually add about half of the flour mixture and half of the strawberry puree. Stir a few times then add the remaining flour and strawberry puree. Gently fold in the freeze-dried strawberries, if using.
TIP: Because we’re using whole wheat flour, be careful not to mix too fast or over-mix the batter, or this will result in a denser, tougher cake.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly into all four corners – gently bang on the counter if you’d like. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
TIP: I like to check the cake at 28 minutes, then adjust the time from there. It’s best not to over-bake this cake so watch baking time closely after 30 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting, at least 1 hour. Making sure the cake cools properly will ensure the frosting doesn’t melt into the cake.
Make the Frosting
In a large bowl using an electric mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Adjust to low speed and slowly mix in the confectioners sugar, powdered freeze-dried strawberries and a pinch of salt. As the frosting comes together, add the creamer or milk.
NOTE: You can also use ¼ cup strawberry puree in place of the freeze-dried strawberries, just know your frosting won’t be as pink without adding food coloring, and you may need to taste test for sweetness, as the freeze-dried strawberries add a little extra sugar too.
Frost and Serve
Frost cake generously, decorating with fresh strawberries and crumbled freeze-dried strawberries, if you’d like.
Slice and serve. Enjoy!
Nothing says spring more than vibrant hues of red and pink, and this one takes the cake – literally! Serve this beauty up for any and all occasions, such as:
- Holidays: Enjoy as a sweet treat for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day weekend or Fourth of July.
- Summertime Fun: Bring it to any warm weather large gathering like BBQs and potlucks. Keep in the fridge or a cooler with ice until ready to serve to prevent the frosting from melting.
- Just Because: Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning for breakfast, an afternoon snack or after-dinner dessert any night of the week.
How to Store
Leftover cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Or wrap tightly in plastic wrap, with a few toothpicks inserted sporadically, to prevent the frosting from getting smushed.
The cream cheese frosting will harden a little in the fridge, so I recommend removing it and leaving it out at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Tips & Notes:
Purchase two ounces (2 oz total) freeze-dried strawberries and 2 pints fresh strawberries. This will give you enough strawberries for the cake and the frosting. And purchasing an extra pint of strawberries is good for decorating.
Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Both the cake and frosting will blend much more cohesively.
When making the frosting, scrap down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure all the ingredients are mixed together.
Pay attention to baking times. The key is to not overcook the cake, so it’s best to start checking at 28 minutes, and every 2 minutes after that. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, and there is a light golden color to the top.
If you would prefer to make a layer cake, use two 8 or 9 inch cake pans and start checking the cakes at the 20 minute mark.
More Cake Recipes You’ll Love:
If you make this Strawberry Sheet Cake recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating on the blog! I love hearing from you, and it helps others learn more about the recipe too. Xx AshleyPrint
Strawberry Sheet Cake
This Strawberry Sheet Cake recipe is a sweet and fruity treat bursting with juicy fresh strawberries. Freeze-dried strawberries take it over the top and the strawberry cream cheese frosting is divine. Best enjoyed on Mother’s Day, or any spring occasion.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes + cooling
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 8–12 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1.5 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 1.25 cups lightly pureed strawberries (about 1 pint)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped freeze dried strawberries (optional)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 ounce block cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 cup freeze dried strawberries, processed into powder
- Pinch of fine sea salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Vanilla coffee creamer or milk
- Prep baking pan: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch metal baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
- Mix dry ingredients: In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients and set aside.
- Mix wet ingredients: In a large bowl whisk together oil, applesauce and sugar until smooth. Add in eggs and egg whites, mixing until fully combined.
- Combine: Slowly start to add about half of the flour mixture and half of the strawberry puree. Stir a few times then add the remaining flour and strawberry purée. Gently fold in the freeze-dried strawberries if using.
- Bake: Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Tip: I like to check the cake at 28 minutes, then adjust the time from there. It’s best not to over-bake this cake so watch baking time closely after 30 minutes.
- Cool: Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting, at least 1 hour.
- Make frosting: In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar, powdered freeze-dried strawberries and a pinch of salt. As the frosting comes together, add milk. Note: You can also use ¼ cup strawberry puree in place of the freeze-dried strawberries, just know your frosting won’t be as pink without adding food coloring.
- Frost and serve: Frost cake generously, decorating with fresh strawberries and crumbled freeze-dried strawberries if you’d like. Slice and serve, enjoy!
STRAWBERRY NOTES – You’ll need about 2 ounces of freeze-dried strawberries if using in both the cake and the frosting. You’ll need at least 1 pint of fresh strawberries for the puree in the cake. I always buy another pint just in case and for decorating with fresh strawberries as well.
DAIRY FREE – Make it dairy-free friendly by using plant based butter, cream cheese and milk for the frosting. Or, omit the frosting and serve with whipped coconut cream and fresh strawberries.
STORAGE – Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Or wrap tightly in plastic wrap, with a few toothpicks inserted sporadically, to prevent the frosting from getting smushed. Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before serving.
Keywords: strawberry sheet cake, strawberry puree cake, healthy strawberry cake
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